Mom Goes Green “takes on” City Hall!

So… my day started with retrieving my local newspaper from my driveway.  While my first thought was “…I wonder what’s new in the news”, my second thought was “… will have to recycle this paper when I’m done!” (Obvious, right?)

Well, sadly, I was greeted with the following (bad!) news:  “Recycled pick-up could end” (ummm… what???)

Seems our city is considering eliminating curbside recycling service to ease a strained budget.  Oh, not on MY watch, my friends.

Next came contact with a member of City Council (who is also a friend and whole-heartedly agrees with ME… and graciously provided me with the email address of the mayor, all city council members and our Law Director).

Here is the email that was sent one hour later:

“I am contacting you regarding today’s Dec. 1 Sun Post article entitled: “Recycled pick-up could end” – Seven Hills

I am urging you NOT to discontinue recycling in the City of Seven Hills. I believe it is our social and environmental responsibility to see that the citizens of our community have the opportunity to recycle at curbside.  Each week, as I drive through the city, it is obvious that our community has embraced this responsibility, as I see blue recycling cans at the end of nearly every driveway on collection days.

Discontinuing recycling would be a step toward rolling back the progress of Seven Hills and, sending recyclables into our trash system and tossing them into landfills, is truly irresponsible.  While I personally would have the physical ability to collect my recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center, many citizens (especially seniors) would not have this option or ability.  ALL citizens of Seven Hills have embraced this program and I URGE you to explore other cost-saving measures in our city… DO NOT eliminate a service that is part of our civic duty or create a situation that contributes to environmental harm and irresponsibility.

Here are some things to think about … is this what we want to contribute to in our city?

  1. PLASTIC– it can take 20 years for a plastic bag to biodegrade and 250 years for a plastic container.  Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour(!) but if every household recycled just one of every 10 plastic bottles, it would keep 200 million pounds of plastic out of landfills each year.
  2. PAPER – it accounts for nearly HALF of what is sent to landfills and approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.  Plus, recycling one ton of paper would save enough energy to power an average American home for five months.
  3. ALUMINUM – an aluminum can is recycled and back on a store shelf in approximately 60 days, and just one recycled aluminum can save enough energy to run a computer for 3 hours.  Last year cans that were NOT recycled and went to landfills were valued at $600 million!
  4. GLASS – a bottle in a landfill would take more than 4000 years to decompose, but glass never “wears out” and can be recycled forever. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can power a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) for 20 hours.

Again, I URGE you, do not allow the elimination of curbside recycling in the city of Seven Hills.  Recycling is not just a service; it is a social responsibility.”

So, take this as a story of encouragement.  I have no idea how this will “go down” but remember “silence is compliance”… you have a voice and “no ear is out of reach”.

Some things are definitely worth fighting for… and you’d better believe, I have just begun to fight!

Global warming: why “one degree” matters…

Global WarmingThere are so many naysayers when it comes to global warming.  I happen NOT to be one of them, obviously (although I did get quite a laugh when my local news weather forecaster made this little snafu!).

In all reality though, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how one simple degree matters.  Can it really change our world?  Can it really change the composition of something and create a calculable alteration? Can it really make a difference?

The next time you wonder, consider this:

At 32° F a popsicle stays solid enough to take a bite; at 33° degrees it melts and falls off the stick.grn pops

This is the perfect example to share with our children.  It certainly put it into perspective for me and the example left me wide-eyed and wondering.

Besides all of the most familiar effects of global warming (melting polar ice caps, weather extremes, changes in species and geography, and even our health) someone also compiled a rather extraordinary list of 600 ways global warming is changing our planet.

But the next time someone you know questions global warming, invite them over for a popsicle… serve it at 33 degrees and tell them you didn’t think it would matter.

An important letter about my organic lettuce…

lettuce gardenThis evening my daughter and I decided to make a quick trip to the garden we’re growing in a planting area we adopted in front of her elementary school.  We’re growing our own organic veggies and knew that some lettuce was perfect to harvest for the evening’s dinner.

Well, we arrived… and … (*wide-eyed pause*) … it was already harvested! Quite neatly I might add (so we knew that it wasn’t “harvested” by animals… besides, the netting overtop prevents it from BEING harvested by animals!) and the netting was neatly put back in place as well.  (Insert my look of *SHOCK* here!)

So, THAT’S how someone is going to be, huh?  Who do they think they’re stealing from?… the garden is in front of an elementary school for pete’s sake!!!

What do I have to say about that?  Well, THIS is what I have to say about that…

Dear Organic Lettuce Thief,

I love organic lettuce, don’t you?  Oh yes.  Apparently you do.  I also love organic gardening.  You should try it sometime.  I admire your strength and bravery for being able to steal from children.  I also hope you enjoyed your organic lettuce salad this evening, however, my family DID NOT!  Oh, and by the way…

fngr

xoxo, The Mom Goes Green Family

One simple trick of home cooling efficiency…

air rtrnThis weekend’s weather in Cleveland was sweltering… fortunately we didn’t reach the magnitude of the forecast a few months ago but 89 degrees and tropical levels of humidity do not make for a comfortable home.

It became obvious that it was going to be a central air conditioning day (we were having family over and it wasn’t feeling very pleasant).  Well, as the story often goes… were we getting cold air? Oh, of course we weren’t.

We suffered through for a bit, and my husband even installed a new thermostat, but it was the wisdom of my father-in-law that taught us quite a lesson, and the answer came from this one simple question:

“Have you changed your filter lately?”

I’m embarrassed to say that we hadn’t… since “I don’t know when!”… so when we took a look, it was like something out of a horror film.  I can’t even imagine that air could have filtered through that thing, so it’s no wonder our house never cooled down… until we replaced it, and then we were cool and comfortable.air fltrs

The reason for the story?  Because one seemingly small oversight has caused us to be horribly energy INefficient.  That dirty filter slowed the flow of air and made the system work incredibly hard and, in turn, wasted energy. I’m sure it was doing the same thing to our furnace just a few months ago too.

The rule of thumb: replace it at least every three months, or more frequently in heavy usage months.

So there’s my confession, but the calendar is marked and I can now guarantee that Mom Goes Green will NOT miss the next replacement.

Mom Goes Green’s 300th post… only a drop in the bucket?

I’m shocked to discover that I am celebrating my 300th post! I was trying to figure out what my earth shattering topic should be but sadly, I’m feeling discouraged.

oil slckWhy?  Well, because some days these efforts really feel in vane, don’t they?

The news seems to be filled with events that are so out-of-our-control that its sometimes difficult not to feel silly when I put my tiny little cream cheese box in the recycling bin, or try to find better ways to do laundry and dishes, or plan my errand-route efficiently to drive less…

In the past few weeks alone, a long-inactive volcano violently erupted (believed to be only the start of many, as global warming melts the glaciers and ice sheets, decreases weight on the volcanoes and in essence ‘allows’ these eruptions), a Chinese cargo ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef (while violating restricted areas and shipping lanes) dumping fuel and oil and causing extensive and long-term damage to the reef and its inhabitants, and now oil is pouring out into the Gulf from the off-shore well also doing catastrophic harm to the ocean, beaches, marshes, marine life and (essentially) us!

WHAT are we doing to our planet and ourselves? It’s mind-boggling… and heartbreaking…brd oil

So today, instead of letting myself feel discouraged I’m going to try and turn that around and remind myself that I can only control my own little corner of the world… but I CAN do something.  I can take charge of how I treat our world, what my family consumes and use my voice to constantly remind people to use their actions and voices to MAKE A CHANGE!

Your choices matter… our voices will be heard… don’t give up… only WE have the power to make a difference.